Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has stressed its commitment to sustaining its partnership with Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities and other Academics across the country.
The Commission made it known that their inclusion in the electoral process is vital to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, in a statement on Tuseday night in Abuja, stated that the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the commitment at the ‘Post 2019 General Election Review Retreat’ with Collation and Returning Officers in Lagos.
“The current partnership between INEC and the Universities must be sustained because it is vital for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria,” the INEC Chairman stated.
Yakubu also stressed that INEC was under obligation to thank to thank the Vice Chancellor that served as State Collation Officers for the Presidential election and Returning Officers for the Governorship elections for their immense services to the country.
“Only those who are involved will appreciate what it means to conduct elections in Nigeria. Anything that anybody has told you before is just a story. It is those who are really involved in the conduct of elections that know what it means.
“The Commission deeply appreciates your service and sacrifice, resulting in some cases to violent confrotations. We saw the way you handled the violent confrotations by partisan actors on election days.
“We have also seen social media assault and regrettably, in some cases, even physical assault. We remember the sleepless nights, the media exposure, the criticisms, the condemnations and in some cases, recognition earned after the elections,” Prof. Yakubu stated.
The Chairman made it known that the Commission was convinced that their roles were unique and outstanding.
“If not for the University Vice Chancellors, where else can we have the pool of serious-minded and credible Nigerians for such an enormous responsibility?, he added.
He urged the Vice Chancellor to speak up about their experiences on the successes and challenges encounted in the just concluded 2019 General Elections to enable INEC device ways of improving the electoral system.